Saturday, February 11, 2006

Petition Results

The results of the Mayor's petition request are in and posted on his website. There is an overwhelming response against any prison and especially the faith based prison. Keep in mind, this is not a scientific poll. Every result was voluntarily submitted. Each one was submitted by someone that cared enough about the issue to put out some effort. They had to care enough to put their name to their opinion.

There were 955 signed petitions. That is a very large number for such a poll. There have been elections with little more turn out. At 75% against and 21% for, the results look conclusive. There was less response on a regular state or federal prison, but even there the response was 66% against and only 13% for.

I find it interesting to read some of the written comments that were submitted. It is obvious that much of the response is based on feelings, not facts. If you have followed the discussion here and on the other forums, you know where I think the facts lead us.

The Mayor deserves kudos for putting out the effort to get citizen input on this issue. He made the effort on his own, including paying for ads in the paper. A number of other citizens also put out considerable effort to get the petitions into their fellow citizens hands, and making sure they got counted. This level of citizen involvement in any issue is encouraging


  1. It has just come to my attention that there will be a meeting with Bill Robinson (addressed as Dr. in the message) at the Golden Corral meeting room on the 23rd of Feb. Seems that the major thrust of this meeting will be about the "spiritual warfare" surrounding this project. Might be worth going just to see why it is that people who are against this prison must also be against spirituality.

  2. It does seem the Commissioners are having overdue second thoughts on the prison. They have at least twice come close, walked up to the edge of the cliff as it were, and decided to ask more questions before stepping off.

    Local attorney Keith Davis has been out front on this, disagreeing with Commissioners' own counsel as to potential liability to the county and taxpayers in the event we do sign and CCI does go bankrupt.

    This is not a great stretch of logic. Ask yourself; a few years down the road, we have a prison, say 400 actual inmates, and CCI is totally broke for whatever reason; who might you think gets stuck with the responsibility for those inmates.

    It won't be State of Texas, they won't have inmates or employees out there. Actually, the law is clear, but without going to the statutes, clearly somebody is going to have to care for and take control of those inmates, and that someone is us.

    Now, Mr. (Dr.?) Robinson has been making reassuring noises about how economically safe an investment in a prison is, but that industry is no more a bird-nest on the ground than any other. We need look no further than the Roy K Robb Center. Its hopeful genesis notwithstanding, it has been a hole in the county's budget from the start, shows little promise of being anything else.

    I think maybe we should demonstrate we know how to run a fifty bed unit before we jump off a 640 bed cliff.

    As recently as December, I had one dissident Commissioner tell me he did not see any way to stop this train, done deal, they got the votes.

    All of a sudden Mr. Bookter is asking tough questions, as is Judge Brown. Now that very specific questions are being put out, Mr. Robinson is finding it more difficult to state flatly that we have no liability, essentially because it is not true.

    Mr. Bookter is in a hot race to keep his seat and this has become a lead issue. He can read a poll as well as anybody.

    This prison has moved from "done deal" to on the cusp in a short time. It has taken a strong effort by a lot of concerned voters to do that much. I am not by any means trying to take credit for this change, should this proposal be defeated, more people than I can name share in that.

    It is very important that we in the opposition camp keep up the effort. The decision is on a knife's edge now. We seem to have succeeded in asking direct questions to which there are no satisfactory answers. Keep up the effort and "get'er Done, son", as the song says.

  3. Forgot to add my bit to Jim Turner's notice of the meeting on the 23rd. I know it well, the Republican Pachyderm Club finally had to move its meetings to a larger venue, had been SRO several meetings in a row. Should not be hard to pack this house and remind folk we have not let this issue go.

  4. Way To Go! San Angelo and Tom Green County. Let's not forget about this issue until the Commissioners vote it down. We can't rest on our laurels yet. Let's make sure we turn out at every event we can and make sure they keep hearing our voices. Judge Brown already shows displeasure when Lonnie Vines shows up at a commissioner's meeting, let's give him some more faces to get tired of seeing. Thanks to everyone who filled out a petition.

  5. Just heard Judge Brown's comments about the petition on the news. He is correct that the results were not scientific. He is wrong about who participated in the poll. It is true that the initial distribution was to some email lists (not just one as Judge Brown stated.) There was also ads in the local paper, and there was some door to door work done by some groups. To dismiss the results, even if it had been a campaign email list, is to ignore a very important statement. Having talked to the Mayor both before and after the petition, I am sure he didn't expect the response or results that came in. The over three to one response against, even in a poll like this, is significant.

  6. Why not have the judge and commissioners sign a contract that "they" not the people of the county/city will be responsible for the prison if it fails. I just wonder if any of them would sign such a contract.

  7. Anonymous, I like your suggestion but I doubt that any (or all) of the commissioners has a bank balance big enough to handle a $30 million loan default.

    It is much easier to be confident with other peoples money.